PhD in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and Media

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies offers a PhD in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and Media (AMCM). You have the opportunity to pursue studies in several areas, including:

Several areas of scholarship and kinds of research methods are available for study to advanced students through the AMCM program. The program’s focus is primarily humanistic, based on research in the traditions of philological, literary, visual, and philosophical scholarship. AMCM also encourages investigations in the interpretive social sciences—such as anthropology, history, and the sociology of class, gender, and race. Learn more about AMCM course offerings.

Because the faculty-to-student ratio is typically one-to-one, we can ensure you the guidance required for generating meaningful research projects.

We encourage you to focus on specific bodies of theoretical writings that have emerged with respect to distinct objects of study in the humanities fields as a whole. By organizing the program through such broad rubrics as "prose and poetry" or "film and visual media," we help you understand how your specific Asian and Middle Eastern objects of study correlate with those of other areas of the world (or whether they do or do not, and if so, why).

The kinds of theoretical writing that you incorporate into your specific trajectory through the program will include works in Asian and Middle Eastern languages, but you will not necessarily be restricted to just those languages. The concentration fields are wide enough for you to be able to develop your own specific interests and bibliographic expertise. Recent scholarship on questions such as representation, performance, location, gender, and sexuality overlap with each of the concentrations below. We consider essential knowledge of the sociopolitical contexts in which Asian and Middle Eastern cultural forms and aesthetic productions take shape.

Prose and Poetry

Included in this category are canonical works of prose and poetry of different eras and different traditions, yet commentary and criticism, philosophical and theoretical treatises, and popular and mass cultural phenomena are thereby not excluded. Through examining different prose and poetic traditions along with different theoretical approaches, possibilities for establishing new innovative interpretive frameworks are to be engendered.

Film and Visual Culture

Visual media of all the major regions and languages of Asia and the Middle East, including film, video, photography, and anime, as well as traditional forms, such as calligraphy, painting, and printing, can serve as the focus of research. The film and visual media concentration works in tandem with other institutions and departments on campus. See the University's Film and Media Studies website for more information.

Environmental Humanities

Students can engage in the cross-disciplinary study of the relationship between Asian and Middle Eastern texts and the environment, including formulating projects that address climate change, resource extraction, nonhuman animals, ideas of preservation, object-oriented ontology, and other current issues in the environmental humanities. Cooperation with the Environmental Humanities Initiative of the College of Liberal Arts is encouraged: Environmental Humanities Initiative.

Theater and Music

We encourage studies of theater in a broad sense, ranging from drama to performance in general. The analysis of play scripts and readings of performance in popular cultures both fall within the scope of this concentration, as does the sociology of taste in the case of music. We encourage engagement with the specific cultural codes that mediate acting and performance in Asia and the Middle East.

View full requirements

How to apply for the AMCM program